Sometimes people change and they’re not the people they used to be anymore. They like different music than they used to, they hang out with new friends, and they are no longer obsessed with that one guy who was in that one movie last year. But that’s all part of growing up, or some other cliche anecdote people normally spit out at this point in the conversation.
I’m here to tell you why that is wrong, changing is not part of growing up, it’s part of evolving. We change to match our surroundings, if you’re surrounded by people who listen to folk music you are nurturing your own love of folk music, but if you surround yourself with people who listen to heavy metal that is what you are nurturing instead. If all your friends love to paint and draw, they probably aren’t going to strike up a conversation about math. It’s science, change and growth is all SCIENCE! So what the hell is all this “growing up” hype about? I’ll let you in on the secret…
Growing up is about dealing with the fact that you’ve evolved into a different human being than you used to be. Growing up is being mature enough to see that your friends have also evolved into new versions of their old selves. But most importantly growing up is about dealing with those changes and not letting them effect your relationships.
Maybe you moved away after high school. You got this new set of friends to fill the void left by the ones you left behind. This new group of friends are into video games and electronic dance music, they don’t eat meat and they actually understand what people like Kant and Huxley are saying. When you go home you find that your friends there are into local Canadian artists, winter sports, summer BBQs, and they know the actual name of that one muscle in your back that sounds a little bit like a Starbucks coffee but really isn’t. What do you do?
CUT THEM FROM THE TEAM! Run and don’t look back, they were lesser beings than you anyway.
I’m kidding, this is where growing up comes into play. This is when you look at the chasm that has formed between you and your interests, and your old friends and theirs and see the potential. The chasm is half full – so to speak – of things you have learned, or discovered that the other person will also like. Instead of making them like you, or changing to be like them, you start to find the happy medium. Suddenly you realize, you were never friends with this person because you shared common interests with them. You’ve always been friends because you share an ability to always find something to talk about. You share an ability to always be completely interested in what this other person has to say (even when you have no idea why there are greek letters in math these days).
You realize that nothing’s actually changed, you’ve just added more links to the evolutionary chain. More chapters to your book. Another note to your song. Another cliche to your unfinished novel.
And if for some reason the Chasm really is half empty, and there is nothing keeping you attached to this other person. Then it’s time to let them go. And knowing when it’s time to let someone go is all part of growing up as well.